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Rolf Wallin

Publisher: Chester Music

Phonotope 1 (2001)
Commissioned by IRCAM and the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival
Chester Music Ltd
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed
27 Minutes
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Programme Note
Rolf Wallin Phonotope 1 (2001)
A biotope is a small ecological area supporting its own distinctive community of plants and animals, the different species dependent on each other, the soil, the weather conditions and so on in a finely balanced network. A "phonotope" would then be a musical "area", with sounds taking the place of living creatures, dependent on each other and interacting after certain rules.

This piece has no score in the traditional meaning of the word. The part material for the musicians consists mainly of 5 musical "games", with small fragments of musical material serving as "playing cards", and with a set of rules for each game. This allows the musicians a freedom of choice within clearly defined limits.

In addition to this game between the musicians, there is a game between the quartet and a computer, running a program made by IRCAM specifically for this piece, partly transforming the sounds from the musicians in real time, partly playing pre-composed sound files based on recorded sounds from the quartet.

The main formal idea is the interaction between 5 very distinct musical materials, sonic descriptions of the five elements in traditional Chinese thinking: Wood, Metal, Water, Fire, and Earth. The piece consists of 5 large parts. Each of them is dominated by its middle section, the "game", which focuses on one of the elements. Each part starts with a short computer sound introduction and ends with a relaxation. The element in focus in these sections is determined according to the Chinese system of thought on how the elements consume each other or transform into one another.

'Phonotope 1' was commissioned by IRCAM, Paris, and the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival, Oslo. It was written for and in collaboration with the Arditti Quartet.

© Rolf Wallin

Score sample

  • Ensemble
    Arditti String Quartet
  • 19 MAR 2010
    Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland
    Students of the Sibelius Academy
  • 31 MAY 2007
    Optical Identity presented by Theatre Cryptic
    The T'ang Quartet

    Other Dates:
    1,2 June - Singapore
    31 August; 1 September - Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
  • 08 OCT 2005
    Oslo Contemporary Music Festival
    Norges Musikkogskoe, Oslo
    Nordic Voices
  • 01 MAR 2005
    Bærum Kultuehus, Sandvika
    Carte Blance Dance Company

    Other Dates:
    2 March - Bærum Kultuehus, Sandvika
    3 March - Teater Ibsen, Skien
    4 March - Drammen Teater, Drammen
    8 March - Kristiansand
    10 March - Sandnes Kulturhus, Sandnes
  • 17 FEB 2005
    BIT Teatergarasjen Bergen, Norway
    Carte Blance Dance Company

    Other Dates:
    18,19,24-26 February - BIT Teatergarasjen Bergen, Norway
  • 23 SEP 2004
    Phonotope 1 Country Premiere
    Warsaw Autumn Festival
    Cikada String Quartet
    Rolf Wallin, live electronics
  • 02 MAY 2004
    Danish Radio, Copenhagen, Denmark
    Rolf Wallin, live electronics
  • 21 MAR 2004
    Troldsalen, Bergen
    Rolf Wallin, live electronics
  • 31 MAY 2002
    Phonotope 1 Country Premiere
    Agora 2002
    Paris, France
    Arditti String Quartet
  • 11 NOV 2001
    Stockholms Konserthus, Sweden
    Arditti String Quartet
  • 07 OCT 2001
    Phonotope 1 World Premiere
    Ultima Festival, Oslo, Norway
    Arditti String Quartet

    Other Dates:
    13 October - Göteborg Art Sounds Festival, Gothenburg, Sweden

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